Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Robert Lee Ahn Does What Republicans Do: Deny Workers’ Wages, Punish Workers, And Make Excuses…


Bad for American working families

As we mentioned recently, the runner-up in the special election primary for CA-34 is wealthy "ex"-Republican opportunist Robert Lee Ahn. He's running a smear campaign against progressive Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, an actual Democrat and the front-runner who has been endoresed by the Democratic Party, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who was the district's Rep until recently, and trusted political leaders like Mayor Eric Garcetti, Congressman Ted Lieu and by DFA and Blue America. We've warned that Ahn is no more a Democrat than other "ex"-Republicans in Congress-- like Blue Dog freshmen Charlie Crist and Tom O'Halleran-- who spend all their time voting with the Republicans. This evening Dave Capbell of the United Steel workers published this guest post explaining very specifically why his union-- which is enthusiastic about Gomez-- is up in arms about Ahn.

-by Dave Campbell,
Secretary-Treasurer United Steelworkers Local 675

Yesterday was May 1st, which is often referred to as May Day. For several years now, May Day marches have focused on the need for real comprehensive immigration reform, worker rights and the importance of community organizing. Yesterday was that and more. Thousands took to the streets of Los Angeles and across the country in a show of solidarity and resistance against the current policies of a fear-mongering White House.

Robert Lee Ahn, who is running to represent the 34th Congressional District, is the poster child for everything we fight against.

In an era of Trump, it is vital that our values stretch towards community. We in the labor movement consider May Day as a day to come together to stand for our values. We come together to stand for the right to organize. We come together to stand for fair wages. We come together to stand for fairness and justice in the workplace and we come together to hold those in places of power, like our government, accountable.

The 34th Congressional District is one of the most progressive in the state, a deep blue Democratic seat-- one that should be held by a champion of labor and a champion of everyday hard-working Angelenos.

Carwasheros are real people with families they care for, some, are of mixed legal status and they work in a deeply exploitative industry, often ten hours a day, six days a week and with no overtime pay. Workers are paid below the minimum wage, sometimes on tips alone earning as little as $30-$40 a day - fueling an unjust underground economy. Workers are exposed to water and dangerous chemicals without protective gear making their work environment a health and safety hazard and many have reported suffering from kidney, respiratory and nerve damage.

We, in the labor movement, could not allow for Angelenos to be treated with such injustice. Not in our city, not on our watch.

Robert Lee Ahn was a Republican until 2012. He stood idly by through the years of Newt Gingrich, George Bush, Mitt Romney, and the like, never thinking to change parties, become an independent, or even speak out against his fellow Republicans. Why might you ask did he stay so quiet?

While the Tea Party was fueling their hate filled fire, Robert Lee Ahn and his pals were part of the most egregious wage theft Los Angeles had seen in a long, long time. It all started at a car wash called Auto Spa Express, Inc.

In addition to a laundry list of anti-worker violations, Auto Spa Express, Inc. failed to pay the State minimum wage and overtime to their employees as required by the labor code. When the workers tried to organize and fight for their wages, they were fired by Auto Spa Express, Inc. One of these workers was my friend, Custodio Camacho.
All I wanted was to be paid for the time I worked-- Custodio Camacho, Former Employee, Auto Spa Express, Inc.

The people of the State of California, represented by the California Attorney General, brought legal action against Robert Lee Ahn’s car wash because they were liable for multiple years of back wages and fees for hard working Angelenos, such as my friend Custodio Camacho, who worked tirelessly to fight for his wages and his justice.

What do you think Robert Lee Ahn did?

Do you think he did the right thing and pay back the wages of the employees who were fired for organizing? Do you think he at least gave these workers their jobs back? No, he did neither. He did what Republicans do:

He went to court. For a long… long… time…
All I wanted was to be paid for the time I worked and to get my job back. Robert Ahn and the other owners drug everything out in court as long as they could. I was counting on getting the money I was owed, but in the end I only got a very little bit and it was years later. Now he wants to represent me in Congress. If he takes advantage of the people around him, how can he represent the people around him. -Custodio Camacho, Former Employee, Auto Spa Express, Inc.
Robert Lee Ahn fought tooth and nail to keep his company from paying a single dollar to the car wash workers like my friend Custodio. Robert Lee Ahn’s response and subsequent appeals delayed the payment to the car wash worker for years.

Robert Lee Ahn chose to pay his lawyers rather than those who cleaned the lawyers’s cars.

Robert Lee Ahn is no different from Donald Trump. They will lie, cheat, and steal just to come off on top.

He was not with us then and he will not be with us if elected. We all deserve better.

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At 5:32 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Most politicians are a bunch of criminal narcissists who are only out to enrich themselves. This is the history of mankind and civilization. The kings and queens, the churches and the powers that be may be for the good of the people once in a while but are often miserable creatures. Ah, the ebb and flow of good versus evil.

Until money is taken out of our politics these types will continue to be the primary force in America. The Republicans and Trump are scum who have risen to the top. We are now neck deep in the swamp. Yet this has happened many times in our history. We can survive and regain our country - Never Give Up. Complacency is the enemy of democracy, and if nothing else, Trump has woken people up. This is our country and we need to take it back.

If the Dems get to take over Congress, an amendment is needed to end corporate and billionaire control over our political process. This should be first on the agenda. Democracy is supposed to be for the people, not these entities.

At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

substitute AHN with 97% of the democraps in congress and both the last 2 (and the recent lo$er) D presidents and you still have a true statement... especially wrt the excuses.

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, I fear your are delusionally optimistic. Our future will be one of misery and deprivation caused by ourselves and whom we elected for the past 40 years.

The election of our orange neo nazi and his racist, fascist, war loving, neoliberal team of fucktards (and our failure/refusal to impeach) signals the death spiral of this little experiment.

The money and the sociopaths have found and codified all necessary loopholes in the constitution to subvert the founders' intent completely.

The only question is: When the misery gets to a degree similar to France, Russia and other societies just before THEIR revolutions, will the cowed, timid, docile, domesticated, drug-addled and gawdawful stupid american public rise up and slay the oppressors? Could they even properly identify their oppressors?

You tell me. I'm not optimistic at all.


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